Big Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara is arguably one of the most recognizable players in the National Hockey League, but he's also 40 years of age and coming into a season where he will be in the final year of his current NHL contract.
With that in mind there has been plenty of talk about a potential retirement for the veteran Bruin, but this week Chara's comments left little doubt that he intends to continue playing.
"It’s something where I want to continue to play, and I take a lot of pride in my offseason training and being ready for every season," said Chara as per Bruins insider Joe Haggerty. "It’s probably something that management has to think about and make a decision about, but I’ve said many times that I would like to play beyond this contract. "
“I want to still be very effective and still get better and improving while maintaining my game, and adding to my game. It’s a game that’s going extremely fast as we go forward with a lot of skill assets. You have to be able to make those adjustments, and that’s a focus for me going into every season so I can be an effective player.”
While Chara has visibly slowed down in more recent seasons, there are many who feel he is still a very solid top-4 type of defenseman at the NHL level. When asked if he would consider signing an extension with Boston Chara left no doubt.
“Of course I would,” he said.
The question now becomes will the Bruins offer Chara such an extension? Or will they instead choose to let him ride out his contract and become a free agent at the end of the season? One thing seems clear, whether or not the Bruins offer him a deal, Chara is giving the impression he intends to continue playing at the NHL level... at least for now.